What does it mean?
Cloud based accounting refers to a system that provides personalised, secure and easy access to your financial data via a standard web browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox. The finance system is hosted in a server that's off-site, hence why it's called the cloud'.
With a cloud based accounting software, users can log into the system from anywhere in the world and access documents or data via a single customised portal. This speeds up the whole process of financial management and allows both finance and non-finance users to act on the latest information in real-time.
What are the key benefits?
Many of the benefits of cloud accounting systems are fairly obvious. The easy to use interface means that minimal training is needed for staff. This saves you time, money. For those organisations that wish to devolve many accounting activities to non-financial staff, a cloud based accounting system is probably the best way as it removes the fear-factor' associated with finance software and tasks. Plus, it is readily available no matter if you work from home or on location.
Easing the bottleneck leads to greater efficiency
Because it's browser based, access to financial data has never been easier or quicker. This means that staff are more encouraged to get involved and contribute to the financial operation of a business. The accounts department can often get squeezed of resources because simple procedures such as creating quotes, signing off purchase orders or invoicing pile up, creating a back log. This can have a negative impact both on cash-flow and profitability. With a cloud based system, key non-financial employees can help speed up these processes, which means the finance team can work more efficiently.
Instant access to up to date information & bespoke reports
Think how much easier it would be if the Sales Manager could produce proposals, alert the finance personnel when a job is ready to be invoiced or let them know about late payments. This could be done in real-time rather than when they are next in the office. Not only is a cloud based platform easier to access, but the information that's displayed can be tailored for each user so they only see what they need to. For instance, rather than the finance department spending days compiling reports for senior management, why not let them view this information themselves at a glance, using visual reporting dashboards that update in real-time rather than deciphering complicated spreadsheets.
Are there any security concerns?
We understand the initial fear you may have when it comes to hosting financial data elsewhere. But not to worry, the servers use a high speed connection with at least 128bit encryption. To heighten security it is possible to change passwords on a regular basis.